Kent McCord is an American television and film actor. He is famously remembered for his role in the top-rated television series ‘Adam-12’. McCord’s childhood years were spent far away from the world of acting. It was a chance encounter with singer Ricky Nelson that got him his first acting job. This stint paved his way to Hollywood. After doing many supporting roles, he landed his first major role as a police officer in ‘Adam-12’. With his co-star Martin Milner, McCord created television history with this series that ran for over a decade. In his long career as an actor, McCord has acted in numerous films and television series, given voiceovers for commercials. He has also taken up the causes of fellow actors and played an active role in the Screen Actors’ Guild (SAG) serving on its board for more than a decade.
It was in February 1961 that a friend asked Kent McCord if he would play in a touch football game in a team captained by singer Ricky Nelson. The opposing team was to be led by the great Elvis Presley himself. McCord and Nelson became friends during this and this friendship led him to get his first role in the well-known series ‘The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet’ in 1962. McCord was part of the series for five years; initially in supporting roles and later as a series regular.
During this time he also did several Elvis Presley movies like ‘Viva Las Vegas’, ‘Girl Happy’, ‘Kissin Cousins’ and ‘Roustabout’. In November 1965, he entered into a contract with Universal Studios. Under their banner, he worked for shows such as ‘McHale’s Navy’ and ‘The Virginian’.
It was while working on the show ‘Dragnet’ that Kent McCord received his big break. The producers of the show Bob Cinader and Jack Webb having seen McCord in ‘Dragnet’ cast him as LAPD police officer Jim Reed in their new series ‘Adam-12’. The show went on to become immensely popular and ran on NBC for 174 episodes from 1968 to 1975.
Jim Reed is a name that has become synonymous with Kent McCord. He played the iconic police officer in other series like ‘Dragnet’ (1967), ‘The D.A.’ (1971) and ‘Emergency!’ (1972) as well. When the series was remade in the 1990s as ‘The New Adam-12’ McCord reprised his role for one episode.
‘Adam-12’ firmly established McCord as an actor and numerous roles followed. In the 1970s series ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ he essayed the role of a fighter pilot. For the 1980s science fiction series ‘Galactica’ he was cast as Captain Troy. In 1989 he appeared as Alan McWhirter in the short-lived but successful TV show ‘Unsub’. He also had recurring roles in ‘Renegade’, ‘Silk Stalkings’, ‘Pacific Blue’, ‘Farscape’ ‘JAG’.
Among his TV movies were ‘Nashville Beat’ (1989). McCord both wrote and co-produced this movie. He starred in it alongside his ‘Adam-12’ co-star ‘Martin Milner.
Kent McCord also has many films to his credit, such as ‘Did You Hear the One About the Traveling Saleslady?’, ‘Conquest of Earth’, ‘Predator II’, ‘Illicit Behavior’, ‘Return of the Living Dead III’ and ‘Airplane II: The Sequel’.
Kent McCord has had a very long association with the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). In 1972, he was elected to the National Board of Directors of the Guild. He served on the board for 11 years. In 2006 he was elected as the first National Vice President of SAG.
Kent McCord has chaired other committees like the Children’s Committee and the Agents Relations Committee. He also served as the representative of the American actors in the Federation Internationale des Acteurs.
In June 1999 Kent McCord was awarded the prestigious Ralph Morgan Award by the Screen Actors Guild’s.
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Family & Personal Life
Kent McCord was born on September 26, 1942, in Los Angeles, California, to Bert and Laura McWhirter. Brought up by hard-working parents, McCord was instilled with the same quality from a young age. By the age of eight, he was handling his first horse. At the age of 10, he started working at his dad’s gas station. By the time he was 12 years old, he got his first job of servicing aircrafts at Brackett Field Airport. As he was too young to be a paid worker he was given flying lessons in exchange for his work.
McCord went to Baldwin Park High School where he was part of the football team. After this, he attended Citrus Junior college. Being a star football player he was given a football scholarship and went to study at the University of Utah in 1962.
On July 14, 1962, Kent McCord married Cynthia Lee Doty who had been his sweetheart since high school. They have three children; two girls Kristen and Megan, and a boy Michael. Kristen appeared on the ‘Adam-12’ in 1975. Megan McCord is also an actress.
Kent McCord has been an auto-racing enthusiast all his life and has competed in many automobile racing events such as the ‘Toyota Pro Celebrity Challenge’ and the ’12 Hours of Sebring’.